Sie sind auf Seite 1von 14

UNIT

CHALLENGES I N ,
ENVIRONMENTAL
MANAGEMENT

Structure
18.1 Introduction
18.2 Inadequate Database and Research on Environment
Data on Communities
Data on Geomorphology and Climate
Data on Research Personnel

18.3 Insufficient Public Awareness and its Reasons


18.4 Programme Implementation
Role of Government and the Problems Faced
Role of Son-governmental Agencies and the Problems Faced

18.5 Summary
18.6 Terminal Questions
18.7 Answers to Questions

18.1 INTRODUCTION
During the last few decades, there has been an increasing consciousness and concern
that the environment in which we live has deteriorated very fast. The air we breathe
and the water we drink is getting polluted, rains are becoming erratic, forests are
getting depleted, large number of plant and animal species are becoming extinct. the
top soil is being eroded and even the ozone layer is getting damaged. There is also
a danger of global warming. This environmental degradation threatens the very
existence of human beings. The tragedy is that these problems are being created by
human beings themselves.
As you know, we receive all the life supporting materials from our environment but.
in return, we do little for the environment. Basically, what is needed is that we should
manage our environment properly. Our interference with environment should be
minimal and we should ensure that it does not deteriorate and cause a challenge to
our existence. We should, therefore, gather information relating to our environment
so as to understand the danger it is faced with. We must assess and analyse carefully
the impact of our activities on environment to adopt precautionary measures in
advance. Therefore, there is a need to educate the people to develop a positive
attitude towards the environment.
In this unit we shall deal with challenges of environmental management. In the next
unit you will study the effect of various developmental activities on environment.

Objectives
After reading this unit you should be able to:
explain the importance of database planning of developmental projects,
outline the problems in preparirig a reliable database report on environment,
list reasons fof the indifferent attitude of people, in general. towards environment
in our country,
describe the role of government and list problems faced by it in environmental
management,
describe the contribution of some non-governmental vduntary organisations
concerned with environment.

18.2 INADEQUATE DATABASE AND RESEARCH


ON ENVIRONMENT
Environmental studies is a new area that is of prime concern to us. YOUwill be
surprised to know that even at the International level attention to environment was
not being given till the sixties. Very few people attached any importance t o the
Stockholm Conference which was held in 1972. However, some activities started in
the field of environmental sciences, when Stockhdm Conference brought the

problems of deteriorating environment to the notice of the world leaders. Earlier to


this the environmental problems were generally considered to be local problems.
The developed and industrialised countries have been facing tremendous
environmental problems on account of their unplanned industrialisation and grbwth
in developmental activities. Consequently, they started turning their attention to
environmental management much earlier: They also had enough resources to support
these activities. The developing countries which on the other hand, had just started
industrialisation and developmental activities, did not face such problem so acutely.
The environmental problems of the developing countries were generally related to '
undetdevelopment, poverty and lack of resources. For them, demands such as
drinking water, food, shelter, clothing and health were much more important, and
for this reason they could not pay proper attention towards environmental
management. Also, the subject of environment being new, very little was known
about its relationship to other sciences such as climatology, sociology, geography,
economics, health and hygiene. Only recently, people have started realising that
management of the environment is not possible unless we have information on other
areas related to environment.
Database is the collection of interrelated data. Whenever required. the data or a
part of it can be retrieved. Database is generally, based on computerised information.
However, information or data stored in any other form also forms database, for
example, the cards used in a library to locate a book. The cards contain requisite
information about all the books, journals, magazines, etc., available in the library.
Similarly, compiling information about the individuals in a city, state or a country is
also generating a database. It is difficult to use the information available in the form
of cards, reports, books, files, etc., if the information is large. The same information,
if fed into a computer in a proper way may become easily manageable and we can
retrieve the desired information very fast. This is why the term database is generally
used in relation to computerised information.
We will discuss below some of the areas in which environment related database has
to be generated.

18.2.1 Database on Communities


India is a large country with different types of climate in different areas. The soil
typ4, water availability, altitude, latitude and longitude vary from area to area. These
diff4rences are responsible for formation of different biological communities in .
different areas. A biotic (living) community includes the entire population of a given
area. Here population means groups of individuals belonging to one species. In a
given area there may be populations of different species'of plants and animals. All
these populations together form the 'Biotic Community' of the area. Therefore, the
biotic community of a large area contains large number of plants and animals of
different species. The number of individuals and the types of species will depend on
the ecological conditions of the area. For example, where conditions are favourable
for growth, not only a large number of individuals are found but a large numb'er of
species may also be found. Management of environment has direct bearing on the
biotic communities of the area. The type of communities, a particular area can
support will depend on the environment of the area. Also, the living organisms or
the biotic community present in an environment will affect the environment. If the
composition of these communities is altered drastically, it may lead to a change in
the envirbnment itself and the ecosystem at large. You may have studied about the
fertile areas turning into deserts, or lakes and ponds becoming swamps and finally
getling filled up. A case in point is the extinction of a number of water bodies due
to unwanted growth of water hyacinth, Hence, for the proper management of
environment, it is essential to have a thorough knowledge about communities present
in the environment.

Plant and animal wmmunities have to be studied in detail and information about
these should, therefore, be available. In fact, informatioa and data availablq at
pzesent on various biotic communities is not adequate. This is not the situation in
India alone. All over the wdrtd, there is very little information available regarding
biotic commnirtts. Out of an estimated 5 million to 30 million of life forms existing
on this planet, only about 1.7 million havk been identified and recorded. About the
rest, of them, we qrtually know nothing. Similarly, India is known to have not less
I

Chsllenpen of Envlmnmenl
Managemen1

than 45 thousand species of plants and 65 thousand species of animals. A large


number of these are endemic, i.e. they are restricted to certain areas only. However,
we do not have detailed information about most of them. Especially, the role played
by these organisms in maintaining the environmental balance and their role in future
evolution of new species is almost unknown. This information is very vital from the
point of view of enviroamental management. Much of the information available so
far is only of taxonomic nature. For dffective environmental management, we should
have detailed information about the plant and animal communities present in our
country. Only then we can'save them and our environment from degradation. If the
environment is altered, many of these species may be lost. Similarly, if these species
are forced to become extinct, it may adversely affect the environment. Species
become extinct generally due to habitat changes.

,.

Their habitat gets changed due to human activities so much that they cannot survive.
Some of the threatened habitats in India are:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

The Agastyamalai Hills (Western Ghats)


The Silent Valley and the New Ambrabalam Reserve (Western Ghats)
The Periyar National Park (Western Ghats)
The Eastern. Himalayas
The Western Himalayas

These areas are facing the grim prospect of losing their biological diversity, which
means that the number of species inhabiting them will be reduced. It is very
unfortunate that we do not have sufficient information about the species present in
these threatened habitats. Hence, we would be losing 'unknown' wealth. For
example, a recent .survey on the status of the sarus crane has revealed the declining
trend of sarus population in the country due tdthe disappearance of wet lands.
Likewise, a study had shown the tiger to be a threatened species. In order, to save
this species from total extinction the 'Project Tiger' was undertaken in 1973. This
Project has considerably checked the rate of fast decline in tiger population. Unless
we know about the habit and habitat of the threatened,species, we cannot take
suitable measures to save them. This example must have helped you to realise how
important it is to have information on biotic communities. If we have sufficient
information and we know the conditions in which a community can survive well, we
can make efforts to save the community or a particular species.
Now, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India has taken up the task
of compiling a database on various biotic communities. It will be called
'Comprehensive Conservation Database' and was expected to be completed by the
end of 1990. Already, Wildlife Database and Conservation Database are in existence.
However, these did not prove to be sufficient. Therefore, a Comprehensive Database
has been planned.

18.2.2 Data on Geomorphology and Climate


Data on other topics related to environment such as geomorphology, climate,
limnology, ground water, etc. are also not sufficient. One important reason is that
India does not have sufficient resources to generate this data. As far as manpower is
concerned, we have more than enough and, in fact, our trained persons working in
other countries are doing similar work there. But in India, we do not have sufficient
funds to provide the supporting infrastructure. The data available in these areas have
been gen&ated, keeping mainly agriculture in mind or occasionally, industries. The
' general environment has not beep eiven adequate weightage so far. For example,
topographical maps, geological maps etc. have been prepared for large areas in the
country. Similarly, weather data and climatic data are collected regularly for the
purpose of forecasting rains, cyclones, storms, snowfall, etc. But until recently, not
much effort was made to study other parameters which could help in environmental
management. For e x a ~ p l eforest
,
cover, species dlverslty, vertlcal stratlflcatlon of
atmosphere, chemistry of atmosphere, incoming insolation (exposure to sun's rays),
sol1 emion, defprestation, silt load in rivers, lakes, etc, were not being studied. In
the-absence of information on these aspects, it was difficult to utilise the available
i~fonnationfor successful environmental management. You have already studied
that if there is a tall chimney emitting pollutants, the local conditions such as wind
direction, wind speed, thermal stratification of atmosphere, etc, determine how much
of the pollutants will reach a particular'place. Earlier, only tall chimneys were

Manwrmrn~or Fn$irmmrnl.l

considered sufficient. Now, climatological data is taken into consideration before


setting up an industry. You may have read about the danger to Taj Mahal due to,
emission of gases from Mathura Refinery. Data on local weather conditions, wind
speed, wind directian, etc. helped a lot in solving the problem. Now some steps like
large-scale plantation of trees around the area are being taken to protect the
monument. T o cite another example, whenever a dam is constructed, a reservoir is
made to store w'ater for the dam. Life of the dam is very muchdependent on the life
of the reservoir and its capacity. Capacity of the reservoir is dependent, in turn, on
the amount of silt deposited with time. Earlier, dams were built with rough estimates about siltation. Later, it was found that the life of the dams was shortened due to
faster siltation than estimated. Siltation in the reservoir is dependent on soil erosion
in the catchment area which, in turn, depends on the vegetation cover. Therefore,
before planning such projects, soil erosion rate in the catchment areas should be
studied. Similarly, data on geology of the area should also be taken into convideration.

However, we d o not have the desired information about these aspects for different
parts of our country. So we often depend on data and information generated
elsewhere which lead to errors in judgement. More and more directly applicable
information is now becoming available as a result of new researches and studies being
made indigenously. Even if we look at the publication of "World Resources" which
is regularly brought out by world Resource Institute; we find that it contains
substantial information about India. Much of the infbrmation given here is generated
indigenously,

18.2.3 Data on Research Personnel


Research is an integral part of science. In order to know more and to remain

a\ n n
Delhi

EPCO
Envlronmental Plannlng

Developmental
Alternat~ves
sDA

TERI (Energy)

Delhi

Ahmdabd

Bhopal

/'

/ NlDH
Occupationrl Health

CES
Environmental

CPCB Air b Water


ICOR
Coastal 8. Offshore
research
Fig. 18.1 : The ten

ENVIS centres and their locatlorn

Impact ~ e a r m e n t

Lucknow

.up-to-date, research has to be carried on continuously. India has a large number of


trained technical persons. In the field of environment and related subjects, substantial
research is being carried out in the country.
Even developed countries are taking advantage of researches done in India.
However, database on research personnel engaged in these studies is presently not
available. National Management Information System (NMIS) of the Department of
Science and Technology is planning to create a database on such research personnel
in the near future. The NMIS has, however, compiled a database on Research and
Development projects, which also give information about the scientists involved in
various projects.
Here it must be mentioned that the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Govt. of
India has created an information system called ENVIS. Its main centre is located in
Delhi in the Ministry of Environment and Forests and it has ten centres spread in
different parts of the country (Fig. 8.1). These centres have been entrusted with the
responsibility to collect, compile and provide information on different aspects of
environment to the users.
ENVIS can also provide information on a large number of topics related to
environment as given in Table 1. This is, in fact, a major success. Functioning of
ENVIS is being improved steadily.
One of the publications of the ENVIS is "Paryavaran Abstracts" which give
information about published work of Indian scientists. Paryavaran Abstracts, brought
out quarterly, serve as a good source of information regarding rehearches in the field
of environment, before a full-fledged database on the subject become available.
Table 1 : ENVIS Centres and Areas of their Activities

Central Board for the Prevention and Control


of Water Pollution, New Delhi (CPCB)
Industrial Toxicology Research Centre,
Lucknow (ITRC)

Pollution control (water & air)

Society for Development Alternatives,


22, Palam Marg, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi (SDA)
Environmental Service Group,
BIT, LSC, J Block, Saket. New Delhi (ESG)
Institute fqr Coastal & Offshore Research,
Andhra University, Visakhapatnam (ICOR)
Tata Energy Research Institute,
90, Jor Bagh, New Delhi (TERI)
Centre for Environmental Studies,
College of Engineering, Anna University,
Madras (CES)
Centre for 'heoretical Studies,
Indian Instiyte of Science, Bangalore (CIS)
~nvironmentalplanning & Coordination
Organisation, Department of Environment,
Bhopal (EPCO)
National Institute of Occupational Health,
MeBani Nagar. Ahmedabad (NIOH)

Environmentallysound alternatives, appropriate


technology
Media and Parliament related tq environment

Toxic chemicals

Coastal and offshore ecology; Remote sensing for


environmental mapping; and Eastern Ghats ecology
Renewable energy resources and environment
Eco-toxicology; Bio-degradation of wastes;
Environmental impact assessment and systems
analysis
Western Ghats ecology
Environmental management

Occupational health

.,- - SAQ 1
Answer the following.
a) Why is 1972 important in terms of environment?

b) List some of the threatened habitats in India.

Chellmgesof Environment
Management

c') How does erosion in the catchment area affect the life of a dam?
1

d)

What is ENVIS? List the activities of at least three of the ENVIS centres.

..........................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................
........................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................
e) Why is it important to have a database on biotic communities?

..........................................................................................................

18.3 INSUFFICIENT PUBLIC AWARENESS .AND ITS


,

REASONS
I

Public awareness can play a vital role in environmental management. Damage to


environment is caused by the activities of individuals who are not conscious and who
do not have adequate knowledge of the environment. For example, when we cut
forests on a large scale to get timber and fuelwood or clear land for agriculture, we
damage the environment. Similarly, when we throw liquid or solid wastes into ponds,
rivers, lakes or oceans, we damage the aquatic environment. When pollutants in large
quantities are allowed to enter the atmosphere, it leads to air pollution. You have
learnt that unscientific agricultural practices and unplanned industrial processes and
even grazing of pastures can damage the environment. There is no doubt that
agriculture is essential, grazing of animals is unavoidable, forests have to be harvested
for their produce, inaustries and thermal power plpnts have to be set up, dams have
to be built and automobiles have to run for transporting people and goods. We cannot
do away wjth these. However, we can certainly do these things in a scientific and
planned manner so that the balance of the ecosystem does not get disturbed. Every
natural system has a limited capacity to absorb shocks. If these shocks exceed the
limit, repair becomes difficult. For example, if we harvest mature trees from a forest
and leave the young one's to grow, @e forest will continue to grow and provide timber
le
in a
and fuel continuously. Similarly, if a water body r e c e i v e ~ b ~ g r a d a bwastes
controlled way, which means that it does not c o n t a i ~toxic chemicals, the water body
can take care of the wastes witkout undergoing drastic changes. However, if the same
water body is used for dumping all kinds of wastes in unlimited quantities, the water
body will become polluted, resulting in damage and death of the aquatic life in it.
Let us take one more example. If the pastures are used for grazing of animals in a
scientific manner, the pasture can remain useful indefinitely. However, if the pasture
is overgrazed, greenery will soon vanish. Wind and water erosion will take away the
fertile soil and the area will be rendered barren.
Thus you can see that, we can use our natural resources and environment in two
possible ways. The one, where the environment is not endangered and we get the
benefits indefinitely. The other alternative is to use the resources and environment
in an unscrup~lousmanner. In the latter case, we may get more benefits for
sometime, no doubt, but in the long run we will be the losers. Obviously, every wise
person would like to go for the firsi alternative. However, many a time people adopt

the second alternative due to ignorance and lack of information. For example, if a
herdsman is told of the consequences of overgrazing, he would never like to go for
it. Similarly, if a person living in a forest is explained about the ill-effects of
over-exploitation of forests. he would like to desist from it. T h e ~ f o r ethe
, important
point is to make people aware of these things. Hence, environmental awareness
becomes imperative. Governments are making efforts in various ways to create
environmental awareness among people. For example, the Ministry of Environment
and Forests, Govt. of India, has one full division called Education and Information
Division. Its main role is to create awareness among all classes of people, help in
informal education related to environment and provide information related to
environment. In order to create general awareness, this division undertakes various
activities. There is one important programme known as National Environment
Awareness Campaign which has been organised every year since 1986. The campaign
gims at creating environmental awareness at the national level. Environment Month
is the period of maximum activity under this programme. Funds are provided to
voluntary organisations, universities, schools, colleges, government agencies to
conduct programmes for environmental awareness. In 1986, as many as 115
organisations were provided funds, whereas 207, 204 and 305 organisations were
provided funds iri 1987, 1988 and 1989 respectively. These organisations create
awareness through rallies, exhibitions, 'padyatras'. clrama. dance and film shows.
essay competitions, painting and drawing contests, seminars. workshops. etc.
(Figures 18,2, 18.3 & 18.4).

Flg. 18.2 : hlntlng competition for children under National Environmental Awareness Programmes of
Mlnlstry of Environment & Forests.

Fig. 18.3 : En\ironmental Campaign under National Environmental Awareness Campaign

Chmllcngclof Envlronrnent
Mnnnpement

Fig. 18.4 : Judges, Lawyers, Rofes80rs, etc., participating in Green Mar& Organ&ed by LadlPn Caqcil
for Envirdegal Action founded by Mlnistry of Environment & Forests.

In addition to the National Environmental Awareness Campaign, the Ministry of


Environment & Forests provides funds for organising eco-clubs in educational
institutions, for holding seminars and workshops, for making films on environment
and various other activities which can create awareness. State Governments also
allocate funds for this purpose. Communication media like Doordarshan;and All
India Radio also highlight and project the importance of environment. As a result,
general consciousness towards enhronment has grown during the last few years.
Now, we find that environmental issues are discussed even by common people. The
Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, has also brought out a
Directory of voluntary organisations working in the field of environment under its
ENVIS programme.
However, the present level of awareness is still inadequate. Our country is very big
and it has a large number of environmental problems and challenges. To cope with
these successfully, we need much better awareness, among every class of citizens.
Illiteracy among the masses is a big obstacle in achieving this goal. It is easier to make
a literate person aware of any problem than an illiterate person. Another reason is
that the whole subject of environment is very new and it would require some time
for the environmental awareness to reach the masses. Inadequacy of communication
facilities and funds for the purpose are additional factors.
Before we take up implementation of various programmes related to environment in
the next section, you try the following SAQ.
SAQ 2

a) What are the two possible ways to use our natural resources and environment?
Which is the better method according to you?

b) What are the various methods employed by the Ministry of Environment and

Challenge of Environment
Management

Forests to inculcate general awareness among people?

.........................................................................................................

.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION
Management of environment is possible only through concerted efforts of all the
components of society such as govercment and non-governmental organisations,
industrialists, agriculturists, voluntary social welfare organisations as well as the
general public. The final controlling authority in most of the issues related to
environmental management is the government itself. For example, most of the forest
areas are owned by the government, only the government can build dams, roads,
railways, etc. Industrial or any other related activity cannot start without the approval
of the government.'Similarly, government is directly or indirectly responsible for
meeting the costs of floods, droughts, epidemics, and other environmental disasters.
Therefore, the government has to apply variods checks and controls so that the
enbironment is managed properly. However, the management of environment cannot
be successful until and unless everybody takes interest in it. It is difficult for the
government to directly involve the masses in general. Here the role of
non-governmental agencies becomes vital. They do not have to follow the formalities
which a government department has to do. Further, they have the additional
advantage of being in direct contact with the masses. Let us look at these aspects in
a little more detail.

18.4.1 Role of Government and the Problems Faced


In India the Central and State Governments own, control and develop almost all the
country's forests, dams, major irrigation systems, power stations, railways, ports,
roads, mines and even industries. In recognition of their responsibility in preserving
the environment, the Govt. of India created the Department of Environment and
later the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985. The Ministry of Environment
and Forests is entrusted with planning, protection and coordination of environment
and forestry programmes. The Ministry is involved in conservation and survey of
flora, fauna, forests and wildlife, prevention and control of pollution, afforestation,
regeneration of degraded areas and protection of overall environment. To accomplish
these tasks, the Ministry undertakes various measures. One of these tasks is the
assessment of environmental impact prior to implementing any project which can
damage environment. A study is made to evaluate its possible impact on environment
and steps are suggested so that least damage is caused to environment when the
project is implemented. For example, if a dam has to be built on a river, assessment
is made as to the type of environmental problems that the dam will cause when built.
There may be many kinds of environmental problems like siltation of the reservoir,
water-logging in the area, submerging of forests, displacement of the population, etc.
Corrective measures have to be implemented beforehand so that the probable
damages due to the dam can be avoided. The Ministry implements various pollution
control laws directly and through the Central and State Pollution Control Boards.
These agencies are responsible for controlling the discharge of wastes and pollutants
into the environment. Standards have been set for such discharges and the Ministry
has notified standards for discharges into air, water and soil by different industries..
One such standard is shown in Table 2. Now noise is also considered to be a pollutant
and standards have been fixed for permissible limits of noise. In addition, the
Ministrv undertakes eco-regeneration Droerammes. ~ r o v i d e sassistance to

'

Mana~emenfof Envlronrnent.1

organisations implementing environmental and forestry programmes, promotes


research related to environment and forestry and implements programmes
concerning extension, education and training.
Table 2 : Mlnlmal Natlold SfPndPTdll (MINAS) for Effluent ol a Sugar Induatry

pH
BOD
.
(Bio-chemical Oxygen demand)
Suspended Solids
Sourn :Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi

State Governments have also set up their own departments to look after
environment. In their own.jurisdiction, they implement programmes related to
environmental protection, environmental awareness, pollution control,
eco-regeneration, etc.
As forests play a very important role in maintaining the balance of the environment,
forest protection and afforestation are given extra weightage at the Central and State
levels. Creation of reserve forests, regulation of forest harvest and raising of new
forests aye some of the steps that need to be adopted. In case, some forest has to be
cut for developmental projects, a clause is introduced in the approval of the project.
'This is called compensatory forestry, which means that new forest has to be planted
in an area equal to the forest area cut for the project. Wildlife management is also a
part of the environmental protection. For protecting wild species, wildlife
sanctuaries, parks and zoos are created.
The government undertakes these projects at various levels but it faces many
problems. The foremost problem is related to lack of cooperation. For every,activity
which has the potential of threatening the environment, government has suggested
corrective steps. For example, for control of pollution there are effluent treatment
plants, air pollution control equipment, noise reducing appliances, etc. People
engaged in activities which can cause pollution are supposed to adopt them. But they
do not do so readily. They consider these devices as non-productive. So, they try to
avoid them. Even if they are forced to erect or install these plants, they do not
maintain and run them regularly just to save some money. Government is empowered
to take legal action against such offenders. But this does not solve the problem. Court
cases continue for years and no judgement is made; meanwhile the environment
becomes the victim. Similarly, illegal cutting of trees from forests, large-scale
deforestation and killing of wild animals is done for small profits. People do such acts
for their personal gains and it is not always possible for the government to punish
them. You have read in Unit 7, that the area which was under forest at the beginning
of the 20th century has come down to about 113. Similarly, several species of animals
and plants have already become extinct or they are on the verge of extinction. This
problem cannot be solved only through legal and administrative measures. People
have to realise that they have some responsibility towards their environment.

18.4.2 Role of Non-Governmental Agencies and the Problems Faced


Non-governmental agencies or voluntary organisations can play a very important role
in environmental protection and management. These agencies are free from
government control and they can take decisions on their own and can undertake
activities which they like. As said earlier, they have the advantage of being in direct
-contact with the masses. The non-governmental or voluntary agencies are spread all
over the country, even in small villages, and as such they have no problem irl reaching
people. Being based among the masses they have no language,problem, they can
communicate with people in their own language and dialect. Also, since they know
the local customs, traditions, folk arts, etc., they can use these media to reach people.
Voluntary organisations have played a very important role in our country in creating
mass awareness towards environment. They have made peoplC aware of the
environmental problems which are caused due to neglect and uncontrolled
exploitation of natural resources. hey have also helped a lot ih controlling these

problems. You must have heard about 'Chipko' mvement (movement of hugging
trees). This name was given because women used to cling to trees so as to save them
from being cut. You will read more about this movement later in this course. Another
movement which attracted attention all over the country and even outside was related
to Silent Valley in Kierda. A dam was to be built there The dam could pmerate
electricity which could benefit people of that region. ~ u more
t than that, the dam
was goingto svbmerge large areas of rich primeval forests. It could lead large-ecale
datlrage to the unique ecosystem of Silent Valley. People raised their voice against
the Silent Valley Project. Finally, the project had to be abandoned. Similar
movements at large or small scale are still going on in other parts of the country. The
recent 'March to Western Ghats' is one such example. Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha
organised in 1987 was an effort by voluntary organisations to educate people about
science including environment.
At present, a very large number of non-governmental organisations are active in our
country in different areas of general concern. Environmental protection has also
attracted a very large number of such organisations. The Ministry of Environment
and Forests, Govt. of India has also compiled a Directory of non-governmental
organisations active in the field of environment. This Directory gives state-wise
details about these organisations.
The voluntary organisations are making extensive contribution but they also face
difficulties. First of all, they often do not have adequate trained personnel to carry
out various programmes. Another difficulty is that they have no easy access to
authentic information and data. Above all, these organisations have to always work
under great financial constraints. They have no source of income and so for most of
their activities they have to raise funds .on their own. Some voluntary organisations
do undertake scientific studies, information collection and programme
implementation on behalf of other agencies including government departments.
Through these activities they generate some income. But this is not assured income
and hence they have to face financial problems. Also, administrative support at Iocal
level is not available to voluntary organisations; the reason is that generally their
activities are against the interest of powerful people such as forest contractors,
industrialists, colonimrs, etc. Some of the important non-governmental organisations
working in the field of environment are:
1) Kerala Sastra Sahltya Parishad, Trichur (Kerala). This agency has contributed
s u b s t q y l y to environmental protection in Kerala and the adjoinhg areas.

2) Dashd Gram Swarqjya Mandal, Gopeshwar (U.P.). This organisation started


the Chipgo Movement. Now, it is engaged in forest conservation, protection of
soil agai&msion, etc.
3) Delhi scle&brum,
New Delhi. This organisation consisting of scientists and
technocrat$ is m w n g extensive contribution. It organiskd the Bharat Jan Vigyan
Jatha in 1987, where environment was given a special status.
4) Sanjeev Seva Samlti, Udaipur (Rajasthan). It is engaged in tree plantation,
wasteland development, soil conservation, nursery raising, spreading
9
environmental awareness, etc.
5) The Kubda Milk Producers Cooperative Ltd., Kubda, Mehsana (Gujarat). This
organisation is working in vadous fields including environment. It is engaged in
creating awareness towards environment, taking up programmes for
afforestation, soil and water conservation.
SAQ 3
Answer the following :
a) What are the advantages which voluntary agencies have in creating
. environmental awareness?

b)' List the difficulties faced by the voluntary organisations.

..........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

18.5 SUMMARY
In this unit we have discussed the following:
Our future depends on how our environment is managed today. If we destroy the
environment, we may threaten our own existence.
For successful environmental management, information on various aspects of
environment is essential. We must have data on biotic communities,
geomorphology, climate and various research activities related to environment.
Government is taking various steps to protect the environment and manage it
properly.
Public awareness is extremely important for environmental management and
protection. During the last few years public awareness has certainly increased. This
has happened due to positive participation of the government and nongovernmental agencies. Non-governmental agencies face several difficulties. But,
they are making substantial contribution in the field of environmental protection.

18.6 TERMINAL QUESTIONS


1) Give two important reasons why environment has become a matter of concern
for us.

2) Give some examples of environmental damage, you have noticed in the area you
live. Suggest some remedial. measures.

.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

3) When did the Ministry of Environment start National Environmental Awareness


Campaign? What is the aim of this campaign?

4) Why isit necessary to have environmental impact assessment done before a


project is launched?

.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

5) Describe how raising awareness among masses can help to save our environment.

.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................
.........................................................................................................

18.7 ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS


SAQ 1

I) a) In 1972 Stockholh Conference on environment was held where a large


nurilber of heads of state participated.
b) See Section 18.2. Five of them are listed there.
c) Erosion leads to faster siltation. Fast siltation will shorten the life of the
reservoir.
d) ENVIS is an information system created by the Ministry of Environment and
Rorests, Govt. of India. It has ten centres. Activities of various centres may
be seen in Table 1.
e) Management of environment has direct bearing on the biotic communitiesof
the area. The type of communities, a particular area can support, will depend
on the environment of the area. Therefore, the management of the
environment is not possible unless we have information on the biotic
communities.
SAQ 2

Where the environment is not endangered we get the benefits


indefinitely.
ii) To use the resources and environment in an unscikntific manner leading to
environmental degradation. First method is the better one because in the
long run we will be free from environmental hazards. If we opt for the second
method, we may get more benefits for some time but in the tong run we will
be the losers.
b) i) Ministry of Environment and Forests has one division which is called
Information and Education Division. It provides informal education related
to environment. This division also undertakes other activities like funding for
various environment related projects.
a) i)

ii) ?%ere is National Environment Awareness Campaign which aims at creating


general awareness at the National level.
iii) It provides funds for organising ecoclubs in educational institutions, for
holding seminars, conferences, etc.
SAQ 3

a) It is-difficult for the Government to directly involve the masses in the


management of environment. Hence, the role of voluntary organisations
becomes vital. Also they do not have to follow the formalities which a
government department has to follow. Besides, the non-governmental agencies
have the additinnal advantamp n f hpino in rliret-t r n n t a ~ with
t

the

maccec

b) In carrying out various environmental programmes, the voluntary organisations


face various difficulties such as lack of trained personnel, no easy access to
authentic information and data, financial constraints, etc.
Termlnal Questions

1) i) Our environment has deteriorated very fast during the last few decades.
ii) Damage to environment is likely to threaten the very existence of human beings.

2) Air and water are:becoming polluted; rains are becoming erratic, forests are
shrinking; plant and animal species are vanishing, fertile layer of the soil is being
eroded, food materials are becoming contaminated, ozone layer is getting
depleted and there is a trend towards global warming, etc.
3) See Section 18.3
4) Through this exercise estimate is made as to how a particular project will affect
the environment after it is implemented. Once the nature of the problem to be
encountered in future is known, corrective measures can be taken in advance.

5) One of the important ciuses of damage to environment is the ignorance of the


masses. If we understand the implications of what we &redoing, there is every
likelihood that we will not undertake activities that are harmful to our
environment. Awareness means we should equip oursel~eswith the knowledge
of environment. Therefore, once we become aware, we will be careful and
consequently the environmental damage will be less.